Child-Abuse Survivor Opens Up To Iyanla Vanzant (VIDEO)

May 06, 2013

Annette and her older sister Kim say they suffered years of neglect and abuse as children because their mother, Charlene, frequently chose to be with violent and controlling men. The years of torment have had a significant impact on the sisters' adulthoods, especially since they insist that their mother knew about the child abuse yet did nothing to stop it.

To help heal the mother-daughter relationships, Iyanla Vanzant meets with the women to dig deep into their past on "Iyanla: Fix My Life." During her one-on-one session with Annette, Iyanla dives in to the feelings of neglect that she experienced.

"I felt that love from [my mother] at one time, but then men come in and you don't know how to be a mother?" Annette says in this clip from the episode. "She abandoned me for men."

Annette also tells Iyanla that she feels "sacrificed" by her mother, as she alleges that one of her mother's ex-boyfriends physically abused both Annette and her sister -- with their mother's knowledge. "[My mother] let that happen," she says. "It's not like [she] didn't know. She knew everything! Kim showed her bruises on her neck from riding to school with him and him beating her up on the way to school. She showed my mom and my mom acted like she didn't know."

In addition to showing bruises, Annette says the girls frequently asked their mother to keep her boyfriend away. "We used to beg her not to leave us with him, and she would leave us with him," Annette tells Iyanla. "She cared more about him than us. You can't care and love your kids and let them be abused."

What Annette wishes her mother had done differently is take a stand to protect her daughters. "I wish she was stronger then," Annette confesses. "I wish she had the guts to stand up to a man and say, 'No, not in my house. No. If that's how you want me to treat my kids, then guess what? [There's] the door.'"

"Iyanla: Fix My Life" airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.

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